What is cognition? Extended cognition and the criterion of the cognitive

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

According to the thesis of the extended mind, at least some (token) cognitive processes extend into the cognizing subject's environment in the sense that they are (partly) composed of processes of manipulation, exploitation and transformation performed by that subject on suitable environmental structures. In contrast, according to the thesis of the embedded mind, the manipulation, exploitation and transformation of (external) information-bearing structures provides a useful scaffolding which facilitates cognitive processes but does not, even in part, constitute them. The two theses are distinct but often confused. The extended mind has attracted three ostensibly distinct kinds of objection, all of which on further analysis reduce to the idea that the arguments for the extended mind in fact only establish the thesis of the embedded mind. This chapter has two goals. First, it argues that these three objections can all be resolved by the provision of an adequate and properly motivated criterion - or mark - of the cognitive. Second, it provides such a criterion - one made up of four conditions that are sufficient for a process to count as cognitive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Brain, Distributed Mind
EditorsR. Dunbar, Clive Gamble, John Gowlett
Pages317-337+513-514
StatePublished - Jun 10 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy
Volume158
ISSN (Print)0068-1202

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology

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  • Cite this

    Rowlands, M. (2010). What is cognition? Extended cognition and the criterion of the cognitive. In R. Dunbar, C. Gamble, & J. Gowlett (Eds.), Social Brain, Distributed Mind (pp. 317-337+513-514). (Proceedings of the British Academy; Vol. 158).